Saving The Nuns By Ministerial Order



[Top: The Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul (now called the Daughters of Charity) and, above, Mary Hanfin in 2004]

Dr Lindsey Earner-Byrne’s book Mother And Child, which detailed how many deaths took place in 1933, in Tuam in Galway; Bessborough in Cork; Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary and Pelletstown in Dublin showed St. Patrick’s/Pelletstown recorded the second highest level of illegitimate infant deaths (53) behind Sean Ross Abbey (60) in that year.

St Patrick’s  also sent 254 children to the US for adoption from the 1940s to the 1970s.

In addition  between 1940 and 1965, St Patrick’s and its sister hospital St Kevin’s (now St James’s) ‘donated’ the bodies of at least 461 dead babies to all the major medical teaching institutions in the state, including Trinity College Dublin, the College of Surgeons and UCD medical school.

So they must be really worried now?


The Residential Institutions Redress Board was a board set up under legislation in 2002 to compensate residents of certain institutions who were victims of institutional abuse.

The redress scheme was linked to an indemnity agreement brokered between the then [Fianna Fáil] Education Minister Dr Michael Woods and 18 religious organisations – including the Daughters of Charity – who paid a contribution in return for the State, essentially taxpayers, to pay the bill for all the claims arising from the redress scheme.

Last year, a Prime Time investigation, showed how the Protestant-run Bethany Home in Rathgar, Dublin 6, was repeatedly refused its requests to be added to the redress scheme because it was a mother and baby home.

In contrast, St Patrick’s mother and baby home was added to the scheme, following lobbying by the Daughters of Charity.

Their request for St Patrick’s mother and baby home to be added to the redress scheme was granted at the end of 2004, by ‘ministerial order’ by Mary Hanafin, then Minister for Education.

Good times.

Watch the Prime Time programme from last year here

Related: Church And State And The Bethany Home

Previously: What About Dublin?

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